Features and Benefits of Agile Performance Management

Performance reviews have come a long way since they were first widely introduced in the 1950s. However, they were still largely ineffective and inefficient even throughout the 1980’s. A change occurred in the 1990s and the performance review process began to be dramatically reformed, with a move away from the rigid, outdated and impractical annual appraisals towards Agile Performance Reviews. As tech companies emerged on the forefront of entrepreneurship and development, so too did the software tools they proposed to facilitate and modernise the performance reviews process. HR researcher Josh Bersin has estimated that 70% of Multi-National Companies are moving away from the outdated annual review approach to more continuous performance check-ins. Unsurprisingly, technology firms such as Dell, Adobe and Microsoft are leading the way. Several professional services firms including Deloitte, Accenture and PwC have joined the movement. Even GE, the long-time proponent of the traditional appraisal, has decided to axe its annual appraisal model.


How did we get here?


This is the perfect place to begin the discussion about Agile Performance Reviews. Of course, a workplace like a festival grounds might not be practical; however, it is possible to build on this idea of energy and foster greater engagement and enthusiasm in the workplace.

Picture a beautiful sunny day, on the grounds of your favourite festival site. Imagine the excitement and anticipation of your favourite performer about to come on stage. The sun is beating down and the audience is heaving with enthusiasm and passion. Then imagine, the performance starts; but, and here’s the crux, the audience is silent. No cheering, no singing along, no engagement at all. Instead, the audience remains silent, says nothing, does nothing. Then, six months later writes a review about the performance. But what kind of performance would the performer give without immediate feedback from an audience? What level of engagement, energy and enthusiasm would be experienced by each member of the audience without this instant feedback?


Agile Performance Management takes centre stage


Agile Performance Management is “a collaborative, continuous feedback and development practice that is steadily replacing traditional performance management. Traditional performance management has proven to be insufficient to assess an employee's contribution”. The need for Agile Performance Management arose as a result of the fast-paced, ever changing work environment in which we find ourselves, but also because, traditional performance reviews were never really suited to measuring employee performance in the first place. They took large amounts of time, generating mountains of paperwork, yet failed to yield accurate results. “Many companies still rely on Word documents or Excel sheets for their performance reviews, so in that case, even a word document could play as a competitor for us,” said Bas Kohnke, CEO and Co-Founder at Impraise; a company which provides a software solution for performance management. Additionally, valuable time, efforts and resources are often wasted with traditional reviews, as employees spend a considerable chunk of time heading in the wrong direction. Agile performance Reviews differ as they provide “real-time feedback that is far simpler, transparent and more effective – especially for millennials” (Kohnke).


What are the key features of Agile Performance Management?

The following video will demonstrate the qualities and advantages of a APM system solution as provided by Impraise.


The main features of APM can be broken down into four main categories:


Regular performance conversations


Conversations between managers and subordinates are held much more frequently than with traditional performance management systems. This enables employees to work at a much higher level as they are in more regular contact with managers who are continually appraising their work. The best performance review systems make it easy for the employee to provide feedback for their manager, not only receive it. The review process, should be a two-way street, with traffic flowing both ways. In keeping with this idea, Impraise was founded with the aim of being “the simplest, most natural way to share feedback, right when it’s still fresh in the mind” (Kohnke). In addition to this, goals or priorities of a company may change as their business priorities shift. Regular performance conversations allow these reactions to occur in a more timely manner.


Actionable peer-based feedback


Agile performance management is based on a more collaborative work environment. This enables employees to be more involved in the goal-setting process which in turn generates a more empowering, and more productive workplace. In addition, peer-based feedback can very often be more valuable than feedback received from superiors as employees interact and collaborate with peers daily on projects. It is imperative to let your people drive performance management and coaching. A positive working relationship built on peer-feedback and reinforcement is beneficial to all parties involved.


Focus on current and future projects


As conversations happen on a more regular basis. It becomes less about rehashing out old ideas and past problems but rather focusing on current or future activities. This provides an additional benefit as, goal-setting and completion become important functions of your employees’ work-lives, allowing each of them to take control of their own career development and become more motivated and productive in the process.


Making coaching routine


As the contemporary workplace becomes more collaborative, skills have vastly replaced hierarchical power. They are the currency with which you advance your career. eLearning has become vitally important in upskilling your workforce in a timely and cost efficient manner. However, coaching and peer mentoring are essential to really reinforcing and developing a newly acquired skill.


Why is APM so important to implement?


Aside from the obvious reasons of improved efficiency, happier employees, with a more open and collaborative environment, the company’s bottom line is also an important reason to implement an Agile Performance Management system. Research from Forbes magazine hints that:

“companies who manage goals quarterly generate 30% higher returns from that process than companies who manage them annually”.


In addition, Deloitte has also found that companies which adopt a more collaborative nature, are twice as likely to be profitable, and more encouragingly, twice as likely to beat its competitors. As so many companies are overhauling their review processes, there is little disagreement that continuous and transparent feedback is the key to effective performance management.


What’s next?


After you have decided that your company’s current method of performance management is outdated and in need of modernisation, the next hurdle you face is finding a solution that works for you and your colleagues. But it needn’t be a high jump; sit back and relax, Impraise is here to help.


Technology is here to make our lives easier. Having a conversation with someone on the other side of the world is now simple and instantaneous. There’s no delay. That’s precisely how good performance management software should work. Constant and constructive real-time feedback from peers and managers alike. Ease of use and accessibility are at the heart of Impraise’s performance management tool. Impraise allows you to gather relevant and accurate feedback for your employees faster and easier than ever before. Collaborative feedback is set up in a matter of minutes, giving an excellent understanding of your team’s strengths and possible coaching needs. Prompt feedback results in faster learning and encourages social interaction amongst your team. Feedback is anonymous (but it doesn’t have to be), allowing employees to give honest feedback. Employees can start meaningful conversations within the app to better understand their strengths and potential coaching areas. Two way conversations via the app nurture face to face conversations. That's the goal!


If you’re interested in Impraise and would like to hear more about the product please click here to view some customer testimonials or here to view a demo and experience first-hand why so many companies are making the switch to Impraise.